Employees in the healthcare industry are exposed to a number of infectious diseases through their daily work. These workers include clinical laboratory staff, technicians, nurses, physicians, social workers, administrative personnel, building maintenance security, mortuary personnel, housekeeping and food service employees. These hazards can be found in emergency rooms, ambulatory care centers, outpatient clinics, nursing care facilities and hospitals, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If you work in any of these areas — you’re in danger.
Diseases and illnesses can be acquired by different means. They can be can be contracted by airborne particles and by direct contact. In 2010, there were nearly 654,000 cases of injury and illness reported in the healthcare and social assistance industry. That’s 150,000 more than were reported in the industrial sector. In 2010, the incidence rate for work-related injuries and illnesses in health care and social assistance was nearly 140, the incidence rate for nonfatal injury and illnesses in all private industry was 107.
Our Rock Hill workers’ compensation attorneys understand that nursing aides, attendants and orderlies had the highest rates for many types of injury. Take musculoskeletal disorders for example. The incidence rate of work related musculoskeletal disorders for these occupations was just under 250 per 10,000 workers. This compares to the average rate for all workers in 2010 of less than 35.
“These are people who have dedicated their lives to caring for our loved ones when they are not well. It is not acceptable that they continue to get hurt at such high rates,” said Dr. David Michaels with OSH.
Some hospitals are going straight to the source of the problem and are taking the proper safety precautions to help to protect workers from dangers on the job. Take Park Ridge Health for example. This facility was the only hospital in Western North Carolina that was recognized this year in North Carolina Department of Labor Annual Safety Awards. This facility was handed a Gold Award for taking the appropriate safety measures and for maintaining a workplace accident incidence rate of at least 50 percent below the average incidence rates of hospitals across the rest of the state.
“It’s exciting to know as a patient or as an employee that Park Ridge’s commitment to safety is of the highest priority,” said the director of the facility, Brandon Nudd.
Last month marked the second year in a row for recognition of the facilty’s safety. There were more than 40 other hospitals in the area that were awarded the Gallup Great Workplace award. This award recognizes organizations for having safe workplaces.
Employers are urged to help to protect healthcare employees from injuries, infection and illness on the job.
Many infections are most commonly transmitted through direct contact, when an infectious agent is transferred to someone who is susceptible through physical contact with someone who has already contaminated. Contaminated surfaces don’t always have to be a person through. They can also be instruments, medical equipment, door knobs, examination tables, bed rails and other medical equipment. Sterilization programs are key to preventing the spread of such illnesses and infections.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a work accident in Rock Hill or elsewhere in the Carolinas, contact the Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Lee Law Offices, P.A. for legal advice regarding your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
Fall Accidents in Asheville and Elsewhere: Preventable On The Job , North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, June 28, 2012